This year Salsa is sending the Dirty Nine down to the 2015 Dirty Kanza 200. Salsa Product Design Engineer Sean 'Mailman' Mailen is Dirty Seven. -Kid
The Dirty Kanza 200 is a special event; I have family from the area and promoter Jim Cummins and company do such a stellar job!
I’m really excited to return this year, especially since I’ll get to ride the brand new Warbird Carbon that I designed. I’ve been able to put lots of miles on it since last summer and have done several gravel races aboard it. She’s still showing plenty of Almanzo dirt from last weekend, so I might actually have to clean it before the start of the DK. It’s been a great race rig so far (yes, I am slightly biased) and I’m really happy with the new level of comfort the bike delivers.
The three cages on the frame have come in handy a couple times, plus I had Andrew over at Bedrock Bags make a custom bag for the frame. I can use it in a variety of ways but typically I like sticking two water bottles inside for long unsupported races. The side mesh pocket gives me a spot to stick food, and I likely won’t use a toptube bag this year.
I’m also forgoing the aero bars; I tried it for several years and even found them useful at times, but I just got sick of all the cockpit clutter…aero bars, cue sheet holder, GPS, toptube bag, etc.
I have a cue sheet similar to my coworker Joe Meiser and our sponsored rider Andrea Cohen; I worked on several variations this winter and like this edition the best so far.
Overall, I’m pretty happy with my racing this year and I should come into the DK with a solid fitness level. I believe I have the fitness and equipment for a top five performance, but you never know what surprises the DK will have in store for you. As Mike Tyson said, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth” and the DK can definitely punch you in the mouth. My foundational goal is always to finish, enjoy the good parts, and suffer well through the hard parts. It’d be great to be able to stick the wheel of the Petervary’s Powderkeg tandem – those tandems can really fly!
Wish me well. I can’t wait to see what the Dirty Kanza has in store, and to start the wheels rolling on another 200-mile gravel ride.
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Sean 'Mailman' Mailen
I was born and raised in the hills of Tennessee. I decided in high school I wanted to design the best bikes and parts possible; I’ve been following my dream ever since. I love about every possible mode of cycling, mountain biking is the most fun, but if I’m on two wheels I’m happy.